Web 2.0

Peer production and the ‘laws of quality’

Interesting reading from Paul Duguid in his paper on First Monday, Limits of self-organization: Peer production & the laws of quality. (via Nicholas Carr)

First, protagonists of the sorts of peer production projects discussed here should reflect on the extent to which, explicitly or implicitly, they rely on the laws of quality. If they don’t, they should ask themselves what they do rely on. Second, projects should be mature enough now for participants to admit their limitations. Project Gutenberg and Wikipedia are tremendous achievements. That does not entitle them to a free pass. Both, because free, tend to get some of the condescending praise given a bake sale, where it’s deemed inappropriate to criticize the cakes that didn’t rise. Third, they should draw closer to their roots in Open Source software. Software projects do not generally let anyone contribute code at random. Many have an open process for bug submission, but most are wisely more cautious about code. Making a distinction between the two (diagnosis and cure) is important because it would suggest that defensive energies might be misplaced/